John Burke joins Berkshire Hathaway to increase luxury home sales By Michael DeMasi – Reporter, Albany Business Review
John Burke Jr., who helped build Select Sotheby's International Realty into a successful luxury real estate brand in upstate New York, is taking his connections and experience elsewhere.
Burke has joined Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Blake Realtors, one of the largest brokerage firms in the Albany area, as a business development consultant and luxury collection specialist.
He will focus on luxury homes, but will also handle listings across all price ranges and commercial property sales. He joins Joanne DiMarco, former vice president of Select Sotheby's, who has been at Berkshire Hathaway since last June.
"I was looking for a brand that I could get behind that had the same moral character that I do in terms of emphasis on community development, a great quality business and a strong financial backing behind the company, all of which is the case with Berkshire Hathaway," Burke said.
He pointed to the charitable work done by the firm's founders, Jeff Christiana and his son, Jay, and the pledge made by billionaire Warren Buffet, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, to give away most of his fortune.
"I think that’s a great example of quality leadership at a time when the world needs people to be philanthropic," said Burke, 45.
Burke and business partners bought the local Select Sotheby's International Realty franchise in 2007, focusing on luxury listings in the Albany region and vacation properties in the Catskills, Adirondacks and Finger Lakes.
Activity began taking off as the recession ended, with sales more than tripling over a five-year period.
Burke sold his shares in 2015 but continued as a residential agent. He also sold properties at Continuum Commercial Realty.
Jay Christiana, president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Blake Realtors, said he's excited to have Burke join the firm.
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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New York Properties announced the merger of Key-Ventures, Inc., an exclusive real estate brokerage firm that has catered to New York’s elite families, royalty and other high-net worth international buyers for nearly 50 years.
New York Properties launched in Manhattan earlier this year as part of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties family of brokerages. The agreement melds iconic brands and supercharges New York Properties’ presence in Manhattan’s competitive luxury residential market. The Key-Ventures team will operate at New York Properties’ headquarters, 590 Madison Ave.
“We are thrilled to see this partnership of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New York Properties and Key-Ventures come to fruition,” said Ellie Johnson, president of New York Properties. “This monumental union is an opportunity to significantly expand our platform by sharing resources and knowledge with a company that has sold billions of dollars worth of New York City real estate over the years.”
One of the trendy mantras in technology and innovation over the past few years has been “Fail Fast”. The challenge with this seemingly simple phrase is that our culture, and likely our current business model, does not reward failure. Even in the uber-innovative, and competitive, world of Silicon Valley most companies fear any type of failure to the point where they often look for shortcuts to achieve success. Unfortunately, shortcuts cause us to miss out on what is truly needed, which is the learning that failure provides. As Pippin says in The Fellowship of the Ring, “Shortcuts make long delays.”
In his book The Lean Startup (which I recommend), Eric Ries says that the only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else. Since we tend to learn far more from failures that from successes the logical extension is that the way to win is to fail faster than anyone else. Overall, failing fast isn’t about failure in the big issues, it’s about the little ones. It’s an approach that embraces lots of little experiments with the idea that some will work and grow and others will fail and die. Depending on the market and company, we need the ability to fail small and fail fast otherwise we may not live to fail again.
So what does this mean for you and your real estate brokerage? As it relates to technology and your business, listen to crazy ideas and try new things. Develop a culture of experimentation. Be willing to try something unexpected or different but do it quickly. If it’s not working, be willing to fail fast and pivot. Make sure you don’t become too comfortable with any one product or vendor as the technology landscape is ever-changing. Put yourself in a position to abandon products once their technology becomes irrelevant, and it will. Once you recognize that technology is not a destination but a journey, much of this becomes easier.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill
NEW YORK, March 3rd, 2017 — Mansion Global, the premier destination for global luxury real estate listings and information, announced today the launch of its official channel on WeChat, China’s largest social media and instant messaging platform. The launch is supported by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, which is the exclusive launch partner for the channel.
Introduced in May 2015, Mansion Global is the top digital destination connecting wealthy, international buyers with exceptional properties through timely, relevant news content and market information. The user interface of Mansion Global’s WeChat channel is designed to mirror its mobile site with a more optimized experience, particularly for users located in China, given that it lives entirely within the local WeChat environment. With a sleek, modern and intuitive design, the channel currently serves the same engaging editorial content as Mansion Global’s Chinese-language site while also providing the full database of searchable listings.
“Launching this WeChat channel is a critical step to our continued efforts in building Mansion Global’s Chinese audience,” said Mae Cheng, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at Mansion Global. “This will allow readers in China better access to our relevant news stories and premium listings and help reinforce our position as the one-stop destination for luxury real estate.”
WeChat was released in 2011 as a cross-platform instant messaging service, and has quickly grown to become one of the largest standalone messaging apps in the world. Now with more than 1 billion registered accounts and 864 million monthly active users in over 200 countries, the platform also provides other services including social media, voice calls and e-commerce. Latest research shows a significant increase in luxury brands, such as Montblanc and Christian Dior, have adopted WeChat as a platform to maximize consumer engagement in the Chinese market.
"This new relationship with Mansion Global―the first of its kind―is a direct connection between our U.S. network of trusted real estate experts and the world's largest population of potential homebuyers on a messaging platform that has 800 million users,” said Stephen Phillips, president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “We couldn't be more excited."
With the launch of this new platform, Mansion Global and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices together aim to further penetrate the highly valuable Chinese market and attract more buyers who are actively looking to purchase luxury properties globally. Get the full story here.